How to Run Commute to Work

A man runs down the road.

Many people are returning to the office after two years of working from home. That, combined with rising gas prices, may have you looking for more creative ways to get to and from work.

By strategically planning your runs and scheduling carpools when needed, run commuting to work can get you where you need to go while energizing your training schedule, saving gas money and helping the environment.

There are plenty of reasons why a run commute can Change Everything®. Here are a few:

Benefits of Running to Work

  • Save time. You were going to run anyway, and you had to get to work somehow. Now you’re completing those two tasks at once. Depending on traffic and your route, running will likely make your commute take longer, but will save time in your day by combining the two tasks. If you typically run before work, this may even allow you to sleep later.
  • Make the most of the daylight. During the winter months, there are fewer hours of daylight. Some workplaces offer flexible schedules, making it easy to do a mid-day run. But many of us have to run before or after work, which means starting or ending a run in the dark. If you combine your run and commute, you can get more out of your daylight hours.
  • Increased time with friends and loved ones. When you schedule strategic carpools and meetups, it gives you an excuse to hang with your favorite people.
  • Increase running mileage and move more throughout the day. Run commuting to work and back is a great way to add double-run days into your schedule. Many people find it’s a great way to energize yourself before work and let your mind decompress afterward. It can help you add more miles to your schedule and reduce the time spent sitting in a car.
  • Environmental benefits. Your car will use less gas and create less pollution. There will also be fewer cars on the road, less mileage on your car and more money in your pocket!
  • Variety is the spice of life. Sometimes it’s nice to change your running schedule and try something new.
  • Reduce stress. Perhaps you love to drive, but sometimes getting somewhere on your own two feet is far less stressful. You can run down the sidewalk faster than all of the people in their cars stuck in rush hour traffic.

How to Run Commute to Work

A man wearing a running belt smiles as he runs down the sidewalk.

There are multiple ways that you can run commute. Of course, the details depend on how far you’re going, options for alternative transportation and the culture of your workplace—the dress code and whether you have a shower at work are just a couple of things to consider.

Carpool to work, run home

As long as you can get a ride to work, this is the simplest strategy. It works well if your commute is too long for a double run and a ride is easy to come by. It’s also nice because you can eat a regular breakfast and arrive at work clean and dressed.

Arrange a ride to work with a coworker, partner or roommate. Get ready for work as you normally would, but pack running clothes and a way to carry your essentials home on the run with you. A pack or a belt can fit your phone, keys and ID, plus any cards you may need. At the end of the work day, change into your running clothes and run home with your essentials. You can leave your work clothes at the office to bring home another day.

Riding to work and running home also lets you plan to go the opposite way the next day. You can bring an extra lunch, a portable breakfast, plus an extra work outfit and toiletries. Bring a towel if you’re lucky enough to have a shower at the office. You’ll thank yourself in the morning when you lace up to run to the office.

Run to work, carpool home

Running to work is so much easier if your stuff is already at the office waiting for you. You can prepare the day before by leaving your work outfit and lunch at the office.

Set off on your morning run commute with a running belt, essentials (keys, phone, cards) and nothing more. Once you arrive, the trick is to get presentable for work. If your office has a shower, awesome! If not, you can keep a few fresh washcloths or wipes at work to clean up.

Baby powder can be helpful too, and it doubles as dry shampoo! Feeling clean is easiest in the winter when you don’t sweat as much, but you can get clean enough in the summertime with the right strategy and enough time to cool down. Consider leaving a permanent toiletry bag at work with deodorant, extra undies and other essentials that you don’t want to forget.

Carpooling = more fun with friends!

Running to work and carpooling back can be a great way to make a night of it before heading back home. If you’re carpooling with a co-worker, see if they want to get a drink and go to trivia night before giving you a ride home. Carpooling can be a perfect excuse to have more fun and spend quality time with the people in your life.

Run both ways

The logistics are trickier, but it’s a great way to work a double run into your schedule and skip cars altogether. Again, it helps tremendously to plan ahead and have clothes, toiletries, and meals at work waiting for you. It’s also easier if you go out for lunch at work and don’t have to worry about bringing food. The above strategies also apply when considering what to pack and bring along with you.

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Other Ways to Shake Up Your Commute

Ride your bike one way. This is a great way to add cross-training into your week, and it makes it easier to carry what you need to work. It’s much more comfortable to ride a bike with a backpack or a bike bag full of your belongings than it is to run with them. It helps if you’re able to leave your bike in a secure location if you ride to work and run home. Then you can run to work and ride home the next day.

Incorporate public transportation. If you have a good bus system where you live, this gives you extra options to ride in one direction or even ride part of the way to work and run the rest. Think creatively! You probably have more options than you think you do.

Invite friends! This is a fun way to meet up for a run if your friends live or work close by. If you have a co-worker who wants to start running, see if they want to join you for all or part of the run. It’s a great way to motivate them to get active.

Other Tips for Running to Work

A man wearing a running belt runs down the sidewalk.

  • Plan your whole week in advance. That may sound like a lot of work, but it becomes easy to decide how to structure your run commutes once you figure out your routine. You’ll also learn to navigate common obstacles. For example, you may not want to run to work on the day you have to make a big presentation. Plan ahead. Pick the days that you’ll carpool, schedule something fun with friends and when you’ll need to bring extra clothes or supplies. Bring extra snacks and hide or label them so that hungry coworkers don’t take them.
  • Keep some permanent supplies at the office. If you have your own office, a locker or just a spot under your desk, it’s easier if you always have a bag waiting with deodorant, dry shampoo, makeup, extra underwear or whatever you’re afraid you might forget. You may even want to keep a nice outfit at the office. If there’s a surprise meeting with a special client, it always helps to be ready.
  • Don’t make the office smell like a gym. Be courteous to others, and make sure to take your stinky stuff home every couple of days so that your coworkers won’t hate you.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to cool off and clean up. Don’t jog into the office five minutes before a meeting. You’ll be drenched in sweat and flustered, and you won't be ready to get down to business yet.
  • Be aware of the time of day you’ll be running. If there’s a possibility that your meeting will run late and you’ll be running in the dark, be sure to have visibility gear ready so you can be safe.
  • Have a backup plan. If you were going to run home but suddenly your foot is in pain, be ready to catch the bus or ask for a ride home.
  • Have fun! Do something different because life is an adventure.

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